1 Department of Endocrinology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, 9700RB Groningen, The Netherlands.
2 Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, 9700RB Groningen, The Netherlands.
3 Department of Nephrology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, 9700RB Groningen, The Netherlands.
A higher sodium intake is conceivably associated with insulin resistant conditions like obesity, but associations of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) with a higher sodium intake determined by 24 hours (24 h) urine collections are still unclear. Dietary sodium intake was measured by sodium excretion in two complete consecutive 24 h urine collections in 6132 participants of the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease (PREVEND) cohort. Fatty Liver Index (FLI) ≥60 and Hepatic Steatosis Index (HSI) >36 were used as proxies of suspected NAFLD. 1936 (31.6%) participants had an FLI ≥60, coinciding with the increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D), metabolic syndrome, hypertension and history of cardiovascular disease. Sodium intake was higher in participants with an FLI ≥60 (163.63 ± 61.81 mmol/24 h vs. 136.76 ± 50.90 mmol/24 h, p < 0.001), with increasing incidence in ascending quartile categories of sodium intake (p < 0.001). Multivariably, an FLI ≥60 was positively associated with a higher sodium intake when taking account for T2D, a positive cardiovascular history, hypertension, alcohol intake, smoking and medication use (odds ratio (OR) 1.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.44-1.64, p < 0.001). Additional adjustment for the Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) diminished this association (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.21-1.41, p < 0.001). HSI >36 showed similar results. Associations remained essentially unaltered after adjustment for body surface area or waist/hip ratio. In conclusion, suspected NAFLD is a feature of higher sodium intake. Insulin resistance-related processes may contribute to the association of NAFLD with sodium intake.